Top Palestinian Official Slams US Ambassador to Israel Over West Bank Annexation Comments
The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister said on Monday that comments by the US ambassador to Israel were intended to help Israel annex parts of the West Bank, underscoring the Palestinians’ distrust of the Trump administration.
The New York Times on Saturday quoted Ambassador David Friedman as saying that under certain circumstances, Israel had the right to retain some of the West Bank.
“It seems that Friedman with his statement is trying to help [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu to have the courage to take such a decision,” Riyad al-Maliki said during a visit to Warsaw.
“This is really something that the international community has to stand up, has to respond,” he said.
The White House will present the first part of US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan when it holds an international conference in Bahrain in late June to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials have rebuked the US effort, which they believe will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.
The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and Palestinians have seen cuts in US funding that have contributed to their economic distress in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian officials did not attend a Middle East peace conference organized in Warsaw in February.
“We do trust Poland…but we cannot trust the current US administration after what it did against the Palestinians,” al-Maliki said.
Al-Maliki said economic issues were not the Palestinians most important concern and focusing on them would not help to bring peace.
“We have said it many times, that all the money in the world, if it is being put to us in exchange for giving up on our right to Jerusalem as our capital or the right to establish our independent Palestinian state, we will choose the second and not the first,” he stated.